Posts ByJake Taylor, Author at
Stephen K Amos. You’ve heard of him. He’s that one off the telly. He’s also on panel shows, the News, Breakfast TV, everywhere! In fact, if you want to avoid him, you’ll probably have to close your eyes for a while. He gets invited to do all of these things seeing as he’s rather good at what he does. If the above list wasn’t enough food for thought, he’s also got a book out, a new show in October, a radio show and a sit-com in the pipelines. We just had to ask him a few questions about all of these projects, whilst discovering who he is and why he loves what he does.
Hi Stephen. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. You’re obviously a busy man as a ‘Live at the Apollo’ favourite, day-time TV and News frequenter, giving your opinion on important topics. Why do you think the public have taken to you so well?
Now that’s a question I can’t really answer! I am very pleased that people like my sense of humour as I am currently in a semi-autobiographical phase. I also like to have a spin on things, looking at life with my own honesty and point of view.
You’re an actor, comedian, writer and presenter, among other things. What is your favourite aspect of what you do?
Nothing beats going out on the road and doing a live comedy gig, be it in a room above a pub, a festival or a large theatre. There is something about the immediacy and energy that a pre-recorded TV appearance cannot give you. In this regard, I am my own self-censor and I can absolutely say what I think, believe and like. I can’t think of any other job that gives you this freedom with no other agenda than laughter.
You smile A LOT. What is your own personal key to happiness?
I genuinely do have a positive disposition, though believe me, like everyone else, I don’t smile all the time! Can you imagine how nauseating that would be? Just an annoying grinning clown? I don’t have a key to anything apart from my house. I do think we all have the ability to respond to whatever life throws at us in a particular way, which will determine how you move forward.
You used to joke that Lenny Henry would have to die before you got on TV. He’s still alive and there you are addressing the nation! What has changed?
All I think that has changed is that people in TV land, I hope, are looking around and seeing that there is a significantly more diverse range of comedians out there. In America, there are so many programmes and channels reflecting the ethnic make-up of the nation including hosts, sitcoms and comedians. I struggle to remember when two ethnic comedians were on any TV station at the same time. I’d like to see a new talk show hosted by me! A trip onto the comedy circuit in the UK and you will see a variety of performers who deliver.
Tell our readers how your Edinburgh Fringe show ‘Laughter is my agenda’ went.
The Edinburgh run was a new angle for me, as it was work in progress for the new tour. I had a chance to try things out and even take risks to see what would happen. The Edinburgh Fringe is simply the most all-around amazing arts hub of the world.
How will your October tour differ from the Fringe show? Sell it to me in 5 words.
The progress has been done!
What is your favourite joke?
My favourite joke is one by a comedian friend of mine, Carey Marx. It is a beautiful and well-constructed joke. His ability to challenge our perceptions of words is amazing. It is a joke that works on many different levels and I won’t repeat it here!
You are described as honest and charming, with a child-like joy.
Am I? I bet that person didn’t meet me after a heavy night out…
Your book came out on the 20th of September entitled ‘I Used to Say My Mother was Shirley Bassey’. What’s all that about?
The title refers to the naive innocence we had as children, when all we want to do is fit in and get on with it. Not being cynical or jaded, I took pleasure in telling a little white lie! Tell me any little kid who hasn’t, and I’ll show you a massive liar.
Is this strictly autobiographical or have you stretched some of the truth for comical effect?
The book is actually a memoir, a collection of anecdotes from my past and starts when I was quite young, so through the eyes of child me!
Did you learn anything about yourself when writing the book that you hadn’t realised until you put pen to paper?
The only thing was the immense flood of memories that came back, including smells and feelings. I really wasn’t prepared for that. I guess I learned that I was always a person who felt on the outside, on the fringes, and have dealt with most of life’s issues by finding the funny, laughing or dare I saying keeping a low profile.
What have you got planned on the horizon? Any telly projects in the pipeline?
I am on a short UK tour in October, excited about my book. I’m also doing a new Radio 4 series, out in January and I’m in talks about a sitcom too. Next year, I plan to return to Australia and the US. All in all I’m very busy and grateful that I am doing a job I love.
Stephen’s book is available from Amazon.
He’ll be setting off on an extensive tour tomorrow and you can find out when he’s coming to a town or city near you over on his website.
If you’ve already heard of Charlie Murphy then you’re in for a treat. If you haven’t, you’ll wish you had after reading this. If you didn’t know, Eddie Murphy is his brother and he is every bit as talented, has so much of his own potential and definitely has his own style. He started gathering the right kind of attention and acclaim with his work on the U.S TV hit Chappelle’s Show. Since then he’s released DVDs, toured, been in many movies including ‘Night at the Museum’ and is hopping over to pay us a visit next month to perform his new show ‘Acid Trip’. We are a lucky bunch. Here is what he had to say to us when we gave him a call…
Charlie Murphy! What’s going on man?
Right now, what’s going on is I’m alone in my house watching the news man, in case something I can take to the stage occurs, or something I have already taken to the stage has progressed.
You’re not the only comedian in your family. Is funny in the Murphy blood? Are there any more to watch out for?
Oh absolutely man yeah. My Dad was a comedian. He never became famous for it, nor was he able to make a living from it, but there are a whole gang of us. There’s a whole new generation of us. My niece has been on TV several times – she’s one of the spokesmodels for ‘Dark and Lovely’ hair products. My nephews, Eric and Christian, are doing music. Yeah, look forward to seeing some more Murphy’s. My son Charlie is an actor, my son Xavier has dabbled in comedy but he’s only 13 so he doesn’t know what he wants to do. But there are going to be some more Murphy’s man, definitely.
Chappelle’s Show has received so much praise by critics with its unique brand of comedy that mixes both stand-up and “hellacious” sketches. What was it like working on such a popular show?
Liberating man! I had done several things prior to Chappelle’s Show and people saw my work, but I wasn’t that ‘out of the box’ per se. People had seen me in a few things, but they still thought I was Eddie Murphy’s brother. If I worked on a movie, everybody else that was in the movie was themselves but I was Eddie Murphy’s brother. I probably should have knocked it out of the way, but, at the same time, it’s human nature. It’s not fair, but human nature is life. If people see an example of success in a family or a blood-line, whatever, whoever it is attributed too, they all just assume that they are the only one who has anything you know and everyone else is just trash. And that’s not true, but they do that automatically and it definitely wasn’t true in my case. So Chappelle Show took that away from the public. There was no room to go ‘oh, its Eddie Murphy’s brother’ because everybody would be saying ‘Charlie Murphy!’ Some people have a nickname, but it was my own name they were yelling at me which took that spell off me. I was able to be called my own name. I had some times where people would come up to me and go ‘you’re Eddie Murphy’s brother right?’ and I’d say ‘Do you have a dog?’ and they’d look at me strange and I’d say ‘What do you call your dog? You call him by his name right?’ Well I’m not ‘a dog’, but then they’d get it. They didn’t come over trying to intentionally be disrespectful, but it goes on man. They see celebrities and they get nervous and do something that isn’t smart. In that case, even before I was a celebrity, I wouldn’t allow you to come and lower me even by accident, by calling me out of my name. If I do that to a woman, that’s called disrespectful right? It’s the same thing. If you don’t call me Charlie, which is the name with which I was born, you call me something else, because of somebody else’s accomplishments in the world, then you have to be prepared to meet my presence!
What is Dave Chappelle like as a person?
Very cool and very open. He didn’t have an ego. A lot of people are unapproachable. If a guy is known for humour and you come to him with yours, he’s likely to be like ‘how dare you tell me what’s funny.’ You know what I’m saying? But he wasn’t like that. If he liked something, he liked it. It was because of him that I was even seen. When I was on Chappelle’s Show I wasn’t under contract. I got paid 500 dollars an episode! That’s how much I got paid to be on the show, but it was because Dave was demanding me, saying ‘we’re using him again’. What took the show to the level it got to, I had a lot to do with that.
Apart from Dave you’ve worked with such big names such as Spike Lee and Ben Stiller. Is there anyone else you want to work with?
Anybody that’s good! Anybody that’s talented! I want to work with the best, man! In this profession there are some really top level people you get to meet and that’s who I want to work with.
What has been the best part of your year so far?
This year? The stand-up. I’ve done the TV stuff here and there, a little writing, but the stand-up is what has been persistent and the last 12 months have really made my 2012. Right now were getting ready to travel from the North Pole to the South Pole (figuratively). We went from Iceland to Auckland, in New Zealand. We’ve done Canada, Scandinavia, Australia and now were getting ready to come to the UK. It’s a completion. By then I will have been to 11 countries. To me, that is a tremendous accomplishment as a stand-up comedian and something I will be proud of for the rest of my career. I put together a show and it took me all over the world.
What can the UK audiences expect?
Laughs! I mean that’s why you go to a comedy store, right? *laughs* You expect to laugh! And if you want a definition of me, there’s plenty of me. I had a DVD out in 2009, ‘I Will Not Apologise’. I have pages full of material, videos on YouTube and a website. If you want a definition of me, it’s better for you to make up your own mind. I have the audience behind me to testify for what I’ve done. Type my name into YouTube and see all of the places in the world I’ve been to, all of the fans, and one thing that will be persistent in those videos is that everybody who came to my show had a good time. That’s all I’m charged with doing, and that’s what you can expect when you come to my show.
Top man! So, how do you enjoy personal time?
Rest! That’s what you’re supposed to do! There are people who beat their heads against the wall going ‘Aaah, I’m bored!’ but when there’s nothing to do then it was written for you that that’s when you’re supposed to take a break. Follow the lead. Take a nap, rest your body and rest your mind. Go find a place to sit down and think and go over your plans for your future. There’s always something to do.
Inspiring words, I’ll surely be heeding that advice. Hurry along to get tickets to go see Charlie and join the huge pile of fans he has worldwide. Get yo’ bad self over to: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Charlie-Murphy-tickets/artist/928068
For a taster of the man himself, check out this video. Has me in stitches every time:
Hip-hop and Ireland; two words practically antonymous with one another. Not if Dublin born Rob Broderick or ‘Abandoman’ has anything to do with it. Along with his partner James Hancox, they have won both Hackney Empire New Act of the Year and The Musical Comedy Awards in 2010. Combining comedy and music for sketches that are basically improvised, and, as we found out, usually incorporate the audience throughout, they have new cards to bring to the table. Thank God for that. I seriously can’t take any more McIntyre (everyone knows it’s cool to knock him).
They are regulars on The Now Show and The Chris Hawkins Breakfast Show and have performed alongside or opened for the likes of Mickey Flannigan, Jimmy Carr and Ed Sheeran. They sold out their full run at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, so it’s good news to hear they will be performing at the up and coming Birmingham comedy festival. So, we gave Rob a phone-call for an interview and naturally, squeezed all of the juiciest information out of him.
So Rob, how did the idea come about?
Well, when I was younger I was a massive fan of hip-hop. When I was 13 I got given a hip-hop CD by an older kid. I just loved how verbose it was. It was so different to everything I had previously experienced with music. Everything on the radio was quite sanitised, the language was fit for families and there was virtually no hip-hop. I grew up confidently doing bits here and there. When I was 16 I had a hip-hop band briefly and we did the school battle of the bands. We covered ‘Gangster Rap’ which was huge at the time and that does look ridiculous coming from the voices of two Irish middle class 16 year olds! Then I moved to England and fell in with a rapper called Jonzi D. We toured the country at Jonzi’s direction and that really built up my confidence to start rapping.
Have you ever thought of making your own name for what you do?
I used to call it folk-a-hop! When I started out I was a one-man-band and I used to sample a lot of folk music. To be honest, hip-hop samples from so many different genres that it just falls under the hip-hop banner really.
How do you keep yourself focused under pressure?
I warm up for it. I freestyle. If I’m doing a show at nine, I’ll start free-styling with a friend at about eight. I’ll go on at nine and my brain is usually quite warmed up by that point. It’s probably the easiest way. And it’s something I enjoy doing. I listen to a lot of music during the day and my brain in a way plays its own lyrics. I start free-styling over the track, so it’s something I do anyways.
The Birmingham comedy festival – what can people expect?
Well, as well as the shows always being lyrically new, the style of the show is also new. It’s a show that we built for Edinburgh this year. It’s a one hour musical with a narrative, but all of that is built on the people I meet in the crowd. Its gets sillier and sillier as it goes on which I really love.
Who would win a rap-battle between you and the Sheeranator?
It depends who’s judging. If it was fans of pop music, no matter what I did, Ed would win! Truth be told, I’m not the most aggressive of men, so I struggle to seriously battle rap with anyone. I toured with a battle-rapper for a musical and one of the guys on the tour I shared a changing room with. We tried to battle each other but I’m quite a genial dude, so I’d be like ‘you can’t rap at all, but last night you were incredible!’ So I’d probably start rapping to Ed about how ‘Lego House’ is actually a great song. It could go either way. We’ll try and make it happen.
How did you end up working with Ed in the first place?
Originally we were in a room together with his cousin, who is a comedian. We were on the same bill but didn’t say hello to each other. And then in May 2010 there was a guy called Dan Tsu who put together a hip-hop show for the free festival in Brighton. There were four members and one of them was Ed. He’d just toured with Nizlopi and I thought he was brilliant. He was going around and meeting people, there was huge interest in the stuff. We were aware he was getting bigger and bigger. We saw each other at various festivals over the next 12 months and he invited us to come on tour with him. It amuses me to no end that in 2010 the dude was doing shows for free in Brighton and now he’s playing for the Queen! His skill-set has been built since he was 11, releasing his own EP’s and he’s written so many songs. It makes sense that people are now recognising him. It was interesting touring with him because we’d see him going out in front of five thousand people every night and he was so relaxed. I think a lot of people would find that quite stressful.
Are there any plans for you to release an album?
Yeah. I mean, no. No there aren’t. But there are plans for me to try! I’ve been writing for the last year; song ideas. But I really enjoy the nature of improvising, going onto a stage and going ‘here’s a song, see you later song!’ I love it. I adore it. I adore the idea that the song comes, it’s executed and it’s gone. The idea of sitting down and working on a song again and again until it’s done, that doesn’t suit me. Everyone has different natural abilities. Some people are better writers, some people are naturally more inclined to freestyle and I’m definitely the latter. I don’t know what my album would be. I don’t know if it would be a mess, but I’d like to give it a try.
What are the plans for the future?
There are a few TV ideas that are being discussed at the moment, but I’d really like to write another musical. I really enjoy the process. The last piece wasn’t a comedy. It was more of a drama and I’d love to write a hip-hop comedy that is theatrical with lots of other rappers in it. At Edinburgh I saw something similar. It was a hip-hop adaptation of ‘Othello’ and I really enjoyed it. It was really good.
Personally, I’m looking forward to that. If you missed the duo at the Edinburgh Festival then you’re lucky enough to be able to catch them at the Birmingham comedy festival from the 5th of October. And occasionally they pop up on various TV shows. Here’s to hoping they get their own one day!
Jake Taylor for PPSF, signing off.
We caught up with Comedienne Danielle Ward at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Admittedly a good few weeks ago but hey, we’ve been busy providing you with amazing content! Eight years of performing, Timeout newcomer of the year in 2006, Mock the Week appearances, writer for many UK TV favourites including The Lee Mack Show and a regular Sunday morning podcast with none other than Dave Gorman. We really were insanely lucky to be able to pinch a sneeze of her time.
Our meeting took place in the Pleasance Dome after a performance of her solo show, which she admits she is doing just for the love of it. She apologises at the lack of a prop:
‘I’ve normally got a severed head on stage. It’s a watermelon. I dropped it the other night and it’s gone really disgusting’
Obviously taking inspiration from Gallagher there…
I ask her where she gets her ideas from because, to be honest, her show was far from what I expected (in a good way) and some of the ideas were a little whacky!
’I really like telling short stories and so that’s what that is. I have got a stand-up show! This show is just me being able to piss around and paying for the privilege. I just wanted to do something that was weird and silly and that’s what that is’
Now as this was my first face-to-facer, rather than research into methods of conducting a proper interview like a real person, I wrote a brainstorm of some of the most random questions imaginable on a sheet, and in an Ouija-board style fashion, Danielle picked questions and then endured the wrath. Here is how it played out:
Q: ‘What is the funniest word?’
‘Knickers. I nearly called my show ‘Knicker-less Cage’. It was meant to be a feminist title’
Q: ‘What is the worst job you’ve had?’
‘I worked at the South Korea embassy. I’ve also worked in Moscow so I can speak Russian. At the Korean embassy my job was mainly being asked stupid questions. The ambassador once asked me if Edinbrough and Edinburgh was the same place, and then he made me check by ringing the Scottish tourist board! I worked at Blockbuster video too in Nottingham when I was living with my Nana and Grandad. I really liked it! I worked in a casino and a fire station. I’ve done so much, that if I’d listed them all in my show there would have been no jokes, it would have just been a list of jobs…
Q: ‘What is the most awkward date you’ve been on?’
‘I‘ve not really been on many dates. I didn’t go out with anybody until I was 24 and I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 22! In the meantime, I was just being really miserable. I once went on a date to a Wetherspoons. It was half a good date and half a bad date. I was taken to see Battle Royale which was brilliant, but then we went to a Wetherspoons so I wasn’t quite sure he was the right one for me..’
Q: ‘Do you get weird thoughts?’
‘Yep, all of the time! Which is why you have to stay focused. I’m doing three shows today so I’ve taken five pro-plus just to try and pep myself up a bit.. I don’t think it helped..’
Q: ‘Tell me something random…’
‘Hmm, I used to think octopuses only had 1 eye like a Cyclops’
And then we had a bit of banter about the festival. Danielle doesn’t think she’ll return because there are just too many shows and it’s not what it used to be. The best shows in her opinion are the cabaret acts (Frisky and Mannish being one of her favourites, The Boy with Tape on his Face being another) and that’s what the festival has become. If somebody asked her what shows she would recommend, she said that she’d tell them to go and see The Dark Knight Rises instead as you pay 6 quid for 3 hours of entertainment! And then we chatted about that film for a while. I wasn’t sure we’d ever get back on track actually. She’s quite the conversationalist, but we did:
Q: ‘What do you think is the funniest accent and can you do it?’
‘South African. My South African accent is terrible. Didn’t you hear it in the show? At the end I was doing my Nottingham accent, the woman in the sketch who was the cleaner has a Nottingham accent. I’m from there so I’ve had practice.’
Q: ‘Tell us about a time you laughed so hard you cried’
‘When I was 14 I went to see Jack Dee. It was the first stand-up I ever went to see and was amazing. I was crying with laughter. I didn’t laugh so hard that I pissed myself but my Nan has done that. She once got stuck on a slide and laughed so much she pissed herself. Because she was on the slide you could see it coming down. She has a good sense of humour’
Q: ‘How much would you need paying to French-kiss Boris Johnson?’
’50 pounds? Hey, I am losing a lot of money at this Fringe. I’d take 50 for a frenchie with Boris right now’
And then I brought BoJo out! Nah I didn’t, but that would have been pretty spectacular, and a PPSF first!
‘When you’re doing stand-up at club you have to change what it is you want to do but when you’re at the Fringe you can do whatever you want. At a club, if you fail at comedy then you’ve failed at your job because the people are on a night out. You end up spending time doing material, that you don’t necessarily like, to get by, and then you think you may as well just retrain as a plumber. Some comics can go into auto-pilot but not me. If I did, you’d be able to see it in my eyes.’
Q: ‘Who pisses you off?’
‘Loads of people.’
Q: ‘Who makes you smile?’
‘My dog makes me smile. I miss my dog, his name is Buddy. He’s a cocker spaniel and he’s only four months old. We considered calling him Jarvis Cocker-spaniel but decided it was a bit too obvious. My boyfriend is very funny.. Bridget Christie makes me smile a lot, Michael Legge..’
Q: ‘Who’s stupid?’
‘Reviewers who say things like “she was so funny I forgot I was watching a woman”. That’s NOT a compliment! People think if you go and see a female comic they’ll talk about periods and stuff and that’s just not what happens! Female comics don’t do that. It’s become a taboo subject. I did bits in my show about it because if you give me a taboo subject I will put it in my show. That’s why there is a bit in my show about vagina-plasty. It’s horrible, and you can actually get your vagina cut! You see NOW I’m getting passionate. The idea that as a woman you would ever want to get your vagina trimmed… that’s where we are as a society. What a terrible thing..’
And then we chatted about feminism and how she doesn’t have a hate for men, but a hate about the fact that we could make a joke about a woman being raped but if it was the same for a man, that would be taboo. Then she defends her one-woman show (pointlessly, as I really enjoyed it) and tells me a bit about her actual stand-up show, which she assures me is really funny. After this, for some stupid reason (I think I was drunk) I’d included the question ‘Name something beginning with L that you wouldn’t put up your bum’. ‘Leslie Ash’ comes the response, lightning fast. The reasoning? Leslie Ash got her trout-pout done to please men, and then issues the advice that she probably shouldn’t get her labia cut off.
Danielle was an absolute pleasure to chat to. I’d love to do it again. I can see why she received a grant from the BBC to write because if she says a fraction of what she’s thinking then we are all in for a treat. I give her show 4 stars for sheer originality and balls (which I think she’d be proud to hear) and highly recommend that if she’s ever in your neck of the woods, or you fancy travelling for a good night out, then check if she has a show in your area. If your boyfriend is a sexist, leave him at home. Or even better, take him. He’ll leave with his tail firmly between his legs.
With anything, there’s contrast. Chalk and cheese.. Ying and Yang.. Dick and Dom (unfortunately). Sometimes it’s a bad thing. Like if you put salt in your tea instead of sugar. Or use an angle-grinder to brush your teeth. Sammy J and Randy couldn’t be more different. But somehow, they’re best buds. Aaaaw.
Today I was privileged enough to meet the lovely Sammy J, and ‘lucky’ enough to meet Randy. *cough*. We met at one of those artsy studios in the back streets of Soho where there are flashes of camera’s going off, semi-nude women being photographed and men wearing Hawaiian shirts and sun-glasses indoors (the truth MAY have been bent/fabricated here for the benefit of the review. In fact it was).
As I approached the guys fresh from being photographed for something I forgot to ask about, Sammy J was enjoying a fruit smoothie and Randy was preparing a cake, as I was informed he was ‘somewhere applying cream’. Randy (aptly named) is purple. Like a grape or that fat thing from the old McDonalds adverts. And Sammy J is a human (peach/beige in colour). He has an air of modesty about him, clearly not revelling in the fact that the guys are regulars on Australian TV and radio. Randy is erm… something else. I can tell that they have a very good relationship, one fulfilling qualities that the other lacks and vice-versa. They complement each other as even though Randy is seldom to be caught giving a complement to anybody, Sammy J more than compensates for this.
I sat down and opened my notepad, Sammy J looking enthusiastic and prepared, Randy looking out of the window. And then, well, I started asking questions…
G’day fella’s! How is life? And Randy, are you currently disease free?
R: What sort of fucking question is that?
SJ: Randy, calm down, he’s just joking.
R: No I will not calm down. Who the fuck gave you permission to –
SJ: Dude, he’s just establishing a rapport.
R: What, by asking about my illness?
SJ: He wasn’t to know.
R: This is bullshit. Next question.
So guys, your new show ‘The Inheritance’. Please tell us what news Randy receives, and if this causes any problems.
SJ: Well, Randy finds out his great uncle has passed away, so we travel to England to claim his belongings.
R: Oh, good one, Sammy. Ruin the story why don’t you.
SJ: Randy, this all happens in the first three minutes. There’s still plenty of surprises.
R: Now you’re just encouraging latecomers.
I hear there are songs too. Do you feel like some things just need to be sung?
R: I think songs generally need to be sung.
SJ: Randy, I think the questioner means, are there some things that –
R: Oh, sorry, do you have a special relationship with the interviewer, do you?
SJ: No, I was just trying to …
R: Do you and the interviewer go on summer holidays together? Do you Skype regularly?
SJ: You’re being ridiculous. I’m just trying to help you understand the question …
R: UNDERSTAND THIS.
SJ: Randy, it’s a printed interview.
SJ: Nobody can see what you’re doing.
SJ: Do you want to tell them?
R: I’m sticking my rude finger up.
Sammy, you have an album coming out. Surely you will be able to make your own fortune from that?
SJ: You’d think so. Sadly, I spent a fortune on production.
R: I told you it was a bad idea.
SJ: Oh come on. Organising Dame Judy Dench to do backing vocals on Track 4 was a stroke of genius.
R: It cost you forty thousand dollars.
SJ: Are you going to finish that sandwich?
How was your journey to the UK, any stories to tell of?
R: Yes, actually.
SJ: Now that you mention it.
R: Our plane crashed into the ocean.
SJ: We were the sole survivors.
R: We fashioned a life raft out of the fuselage and drifted for days.
SJ: Eventually we washed ashore on a remote Bengalla beach.
R: We murdered a pirate and swore an oath on his skull to combat piracy, greed and injustice wherever it may be found.
SJ: Then a search and rescue team found us and flew us to Edinburgh.
R: Are we still going to combat piracy?
SJ: That was conditional on not being rescued.
R: Oh, sweet.
Sammy, what is it like living with Randy?
SJ: He’s my best friend.
Randy, what is it like living with Sammy?
R: He’s a cockhead.
Randy, are there any other *ahem* puppets you like? Are there any you don’t like?
R: OK, seriously, this has gone too far.
SJ: Dude, don’t worry, we’re nearly there …
R: NO! You saw the way this interview started, and now he’s going to bring that up?
SJ: Randy – please – we need the publicity.
R: Fuck the publicity!
SJ: Dude, I can’t stress this enough, we have a lot of seats to fill, it’s a big venue …
R: Oh and I suppose you’d be burning witches in the 16th century too, huh?
R: You heard me.
SJ: I did, but it didn’t make sense.
R: You’re telling me it didn’t make sense??? Most of them were entirely innocent of the crimes they were accused of.
SJ: Answer the fucking question.
R: Big Bird.
What have you guys got planned for the future?
SJ: I’m going to host a cooking show called “Let’s Cook!”
R: I’m going to host a cooking show called “Time to Cook!”
SJ: But that’s very similar to my plan.
SJ: When did you make that plan?
R: A few seconds ago.
SJ: You’re an arsehole.
R: Deal with it.
Thanks guys, can’t wait to see the new show! You can catch the duo (and hopefully that’s all you’ll catch) at the Underbelly Cowbarn throughout August at the Edinburgh festival. These guys are racking up 5 star reviews like nobody’s business. Maybe one day, they’ll turn into them (stars…).
Tickets here: www.underbelly.co.uk
[Featured image courtesy of Jonnie Malachi]
Why are we here? What happens after we die? What is the meaning of life?
These are just a few of the questions you definitely won’t get answers to if you go and see Chris Martin‘s new show ‘Spot the Difference’. And thank god for that (who may or may not exist).
Actually, Chris’ new show will make you question the things you have come to accept as normal. How you judge and are judged, are things you’ve come to accept as important really that important and winding up wild-life: not as easy as you’d assume.
In an age where there is daily emphasis on economic struggle, political pressure, terrorism in all forms and whether or not your new jeans make your arse look as good as nature intended, I think we could all do with a break and some light hearted entertainment. The kind that makes you go ‘hey I’ve never thought of it like that!’, and that break, ladies and gentlemen, comes in the form of Chris Martin, a regular Peter Ian Steaker (initialise the first 2 names to reveal hilarious added PPSF content).
He’s a man who says what’s on his mind, and, in a roundabout manner he says what’s on your mind too, even if you didn’t realise it.
Oh, and if your wife leaves you and you lose your job and the house, steer clear of him. If you know what’s good for you.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Martin (applause)…
Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. So my first question is: why would you want to wind up a squirrel?
It’s not that I want to. Or that I would want to. It’s just that I have a lot of time on my hands and I moved into a flat with a garden so naturally I thought I’d see what happened if I messed with it’s head. This slightly backfired. I’ll reveal how at my show.
I ask because it’s a theme in your new Edinburgh Festival show ‘Spot the Difference’. Tell us a bit about what else is in store…
It’s about how pointless my life is but also how pointless the things people judge you on are in 2012 and whether this is a good or a bad thing.
You’re a new comic gathering acclaim, and words like ‘comic genius’ are being used to describe you. How does that feel?
Haha. I don’t know who said that but I think they may have been slightly over-doing it. I just enjoy saying the silly thoughts in my head out loud and hope the audience enjoy that too.
The topics for your jokes seem to be just common everyday things. And yet you still manage to bring down the house! Explain to us how a joke comes together, from inspiration to the stage.
There is no real hard and fast rule. Sometimes I sit around trying to write and think but sometimes an idea will come to you when you walk around the shops or sit on a train or often on stage. You only really know how to make something funny when you’re in front of an audience.
For obvious reasons (which will not be mentioned!), do you wish you had a different name?
Nah. I like a challenge. It gives me the goal of becoming more famous that the other guy.
You have a monthly podcast with Carl Donnelly. But my Ipod is running out of space! Why should I put your show on, and take off my Duran Duran compilation?
If you like 2 men talking utter nonsense, mainly about knobs, movies, ice cream and lovely strangers then get it on there. If you like 80s bangers then don’t bother!
So you have a lot going for you, and it seems like any fan of comedy would do well to make their way down to your new show. How do you hope people will feel when leaving?
I hope I’ve completely made them re-assess their existence…or more likely made them laugh for an hour and hope they’ll go off seeing everyday things in a different light.
My wife has just left me, I got sacked from my job and my car has failed its MOT, and I’m your mate. How would you cheer me up?
I would probably just take the piss out of your misfortune. It’s the best way to deal with it. Maybe I’d give you an awkward hug but I would pleasure you as some sort of temporary wife replacement.
Thanks Chris, I feel a lot better. We wish you all the best for the future.
Readers, be sure to make your way down to The Gilded Balloon at The Balcony, 13 Bristo Square to see ‘Spot The Difference’. And it costs half of a tenner so take a mate.
[Featured image courtesy of Idil Sukan]
Do you like MTV? Do you like comedy? Can you stomach the news? If so, you’ve probably heard of Joel Dommett. If not, what are you doing with your life?! Oh, a job and responsibility, right…
It’s the time of year when funny folk make their way north of the smoke to a lovely little Scottish location called Edinburgh. Even the heavy-weights don’t turn their noses up at the fringe. It is the mecca of comedy. And Joel Dommett is one of those with his nose firmly in the business of being there (at the fringe).
He’s the kind of guy you want at a party, as long as you didn’t invite relatives. The kind of guy who tells you to look on the bright side at 2AM when your light-bulb has blown. The kind of guy you want to laugh at.
He has a new show. It’s going to be worth watching. It’s going to be worth watching twice. And what better way to get a teaser of what is in store than to read yet another one of our fantastic articles?! Joel informs us that he’s happily single, has spent time recently talking to Muppets (literally) and the things he’d do if Denzel Washington requested them…
Oh, and if your easily offended… good.
It’s what Joel would want.
Hi Joel. How is it going? Are you okay?
I’m ﬁne, thanks for asking. It’s nice to be back in Edinburgh with its bipolar weather and cobbled streets. I’m scared about my show this year yet super excited. Kinda like going down the slide when you have been in a plane crash in the sea.
Words like ‘lazy’ and ‘lonely’ pop up quite a few times in your website bio. But the word on the street is you do more gigs in a year than there are days? How do you maintain your energy?
It’s generally because I have nothing to do that isn’t comedy related to sap this energy vat of mine. I have no social life or girlfriend so I might as well gig every night and work every day. I am pretty sure I will be 40 and very lonely. But I shall masturbate while throwing all my money into the air daily to make up for it.
You surely can’t be lonely. And if so, don’t women love a man who can make them laugh? Tell us a story about when comedy has gotten you something you wanted (other than one of your many awards).
It has made me meet a lot of heroes… I interviewed the Muppets the other day. It was the highlight of my adult life. I have never been so nervous for an interview ever. And I have interviewed The Bieber (apparently you have to put a capital letter on ‘The’ before ‘Bieber’ now like ‘The Lord’)
You’ve had a few acting roles and are the new presenter for the news on MTV. What’s it like being on the telly? Is it just like ‘extras’ makes it out to be?
Not really… And as a comedian no matter how diva-ish you become during a daytime ﬁlming, a comedy club at night is perfect to make you feel down to earth again. The other day I interviewed Denzel Washington and it was incredible that a few hours later I was on stage and a man shouted ‘get your tits out’ before I managed to get to the mic on stage. I didn’t do it. But if Denzel asked I probably would have.
Nunchuck Silver Medalist 2002 is the name of your latest show which is being performed in Edinburgh throughout August. Will you be demonstrating your skills as a martial artist? Will I get hurt?
I might be… You will have to watch and see! You deﬁnitely won’t get hurt (probably).
What is the most inappropriate joke you’ve ever told and what was the response?
I recently was recording a TV pilot where we had to rate songs, and talk about whether we thought it was going to be a hit or not. I was alongside Jake Shears from the Scissor Sisters, Professor Green and this producer lady on the panel… They all evaluated this track by D’banj, an African artist who is the most popular African singer ever. They loved it. I thought it was terrible and said “just because something is massive in Africa it doesn’t mean it is going to be big here… just look at Aids”. The audience laughed at the same time as oooohhing at the same time as clapping. I looked at Jake Shears and he looked very disappointed.
You just ﬁnished ﬁlming for a new 6 part series ‘How to Survive a Disaster Movie’ which will be on Channel 5 in October. How would you personally survive if say, Godzilla made his way to London…
I would go to Edinburgh and watch London burn. Like I did last year while the riots were happening.
There will be many people and many shows at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival. Barring ‘come and see my show’ what advice would you give to someone who hasn’t been?
Split your time between three types of show: one that you know you will like, for instance someone you’ve seen on TV. The second should be someone that has been recommended to you; and the third should be punt on someone you get given a ﬂyer from. This is a way of fully experiencing Edinburgh festival without coming home seeing all shit or all Michael Mcintyre.
Thanks Joel. Give Bruce Lee a run for his money! Nunchuck Silver Medalist 2002 can be seen in the Pleasance Courtyard at Attic throughout August. I’d bring a helmet. And a sewing kit, because you’re guaranteed to be in stitches by the end of the evening.
Australian born Benny Boot has been reviewed by the likes of Tim Minchin, Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle. So naturally, we thought we’d jump on the bandwagon.
His new Edinburgh festival show ‘Defcon 4’ promises to be contemporary, unconventional and totally original. We are living in an ever changing media landscape, and comedy is no exception. According to Benny, comedy has gone sexy. We are talking to a man here who has signed boobs! He’s even been asked to sign a pregnant woman’s belly, and would consider signing the new-born! He’s yet to have a g-string thrown at him however…
We chatted about the rules behind comedy, performance and the comedians he himself admires. Also the latest craze is apparently people shouting out joke requests like a rock concert. ‘They go nuts for it! Some comedians have timeless and repeatable humour. You enjoy the way it’s written, the premise, the structure and appreciate it’.
It is often said that comics can be hilarious on-stage and something totally different off-stage. For Benny Boot, this is not the case. The man is witty, personable and just generally seems to love his life. He talks to us about his unique approach, comedy schools, and why having anybody other than the general public in his audience can be nerve-wracking.
Oh, and his favourite song is ‘Foster the People – Pumped up Kicks’.
Benny nice to meet you. So, I’m going to play you at your own game here, playing comedy by the book. Start big and end big is one of the main rules so start big! Tell us about a Benny Boot show! Make it big!
Do I have to sell it over the top? I feel like I’m already defeating the purpose! If I go on stage and I’m feeling quite silly and confident it’s probably gunna be a big show. If I’m relaxed and there’s nice rhythm, that’s probably me making it big. And the audience has to be f*cking savvy too. If it’s not then it’s usually just f*ckin press play and my mind diverts. I like the turbulence. That’s a better analogy. More turbulence! Turbulence – good, none-turbulence and I’ll just sit back and go onto auto-pilot.
You have a theme for deconstructing comedy. Your last Edinburgh show ‘set-up, punch line, pause for laughter’ did just that. Explain the idea behind ‘Defcon 4’ and how you’re going to feature it in this year’s show.
Defcon 4 is a reference to a joke that I did last year where I said that if a joke didn’t work I told the audience not to worry ‘cos I have a list of my jokes. At the bottom of this list are my defcon 4 jokes for if the shit went sour, I’d use the defcon 4 jokes. Then I would jokingly say ‘you’d be surprised at how often I’ve used them’ and they’d all go ‘hahahahaha’ and then I’d say ‘I’ve already used them….’
I’m trying to reach that stage where you can say pretty much anything and get a laugh. It’s almost like you could say the most racist jokes, and the audience would go ‘yea, I love that shit! We love you!’
You’re a comedians favourite. Is that level of responsibility scary?
Some comedians enjoy watching me. I’m not a comedians comedian yet though… A comedians comedian is who other comedians look up to. Either they don’t give a shit or theres something really really different. Rev. Obadiah Steppenwolf, he’s amazing to watch. Eric Lampert is quite nice to watch cos he’s quite off the cuff and just goes f*ckin’ crazy on stage.
What, if anything, do you find is the scariest thing about performing?
Scariest thing about performing? Oh man there’s so many scary things but at the same time you get used to’ em. Dying (on stage) isn’t scary. I think it’s scary if you’re doing a gig and there somebody in the audience that your tryna impress or like get something out of like say a TV audition or something like that.. I guess if there is a reviewer in, that’s horrible because there’s so much pressure. This is f*ckin’ scary, if you’ve got your mates in the audience! There always like ‘hey, yea, really good dude, let’s go get a drink! You did comedy for how many years? Was that like a good show or what’s the deal?’ This is where you ended up 4 years after leaving high school…
People can play to the rules of comedy and still die a death. What do you think makes a person naturally funny?
If your endearing and people automatically like you, it’s a massive thing. ‘Cos if your stuff’s not working they’ll still really laugh and enjoy you, they’ll laugh even if you die. If you’re an endearing and engaging person, that works. I’m a big believer in not overcomplicating your jokes. You can make them intelligent, but don’t make them too wordy. If you can go from point A to point B in every joke with the least amount of words and still get the message across, it becomes really concise. Also have a unique way of looking at stuff. And be f*ckin’ funny and not boring!
Tim Minchin thinks you are ‘f*ck*ng funny’. Who do you admire and why?
I love Tim Minchin, I love Stephen Wright, I love Demetri Martin.. Kitson, er, the late Mitch Hedberg. They are the ones I really look up too. I like Flight of the Conchords as well, them and Minchin are quite different, quite jokey. Martin Wright and Hedberg have short jokes. Kitson, I mean he’s just on another level. Whenever I go and see him, he makes me feel better and more intelligent when I walk out. Better about the world and myself. You leave feeling nicer, with a better vocabulary and more of a human than before you went in there. I have a laugh and go back to my arse-hole self.
Do you think it’s important for a comedian to be able to laugh at themselves?
I have been slated in the past for laughing at my own jokes by reviewers. I think it makes you feel comfortable if you’re willing to laugh at yourself. Not taking it all serious all the time.
Do you think they should teach comedy in schools? If so how?
No. You can’t f*ckin’ teach comedy, people try and mass produce it. I hate comedy courses, I have a weird thing about them. You can’t teach somebody to be funny. Some of ‘em (people), they come out and they are all the same. They are mass produced, same delivery.. the courses are just creating androids.
Maybe you could do a course ABOUT comedy, like an English or history course where you learn about comedy. If they like it they can read more information about the people they like.
Where are you going next? Both with your career, and physically?
Physically – on stage to perform to 300 children under the age of 12. They get comics to do their same set obviously without the swearing. The kids do laugh at it. They laugh at the imagery more than the word play and stuff. That’s where I’m going physically which is gunna be a hoot!
In career.. I dunno, there’s a few things on my life scale that I wanna get ticked off. I wanna get invited to Melbourne, The Kilkenny Comedy festival and the Montreal festival. Hopefully they’ll happen soonish. Like, within the next week.
‘Defcon 4’ runs from the 1st to the 26th of august at the Wee Coo, and its only 6 quid! You’d be mad to miss it.
Ticket information here.
[Image courtesy of Ed Moore]
What is comedy without new faces? A boring old rubber mask you’ve seen a million times? Yeah, probably. Well get a load of this guy…
Rob Beckett started performing comedy 3 years ago and within no time at all was winning awards left, right AND centre. Sounds like he’s got it covered. His observations are unique and his face makes you want to smile. He tells us about his new show ‘Summer Holiday’ (and why it is named so!), family life, and why he does what he does.
With rave reviews from The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Times, he seems like a comic to keep your eye on. Let’s see what the new nice-guy of comedy has to say…
Hi Rob. After scouring the internet for what seemed like years, I can’t seem to find your age out?! Is it a secret…?
It is no secret, I am 26. I can have a showbiz age if you want? I am 11 years old.
The reason I ask is, you started stand-up 3 years ago and have won more awards than most people have had dinners (not hot, regular!) How does it feel to receive this amount of acclaim at such a young age?
It’s been amazing. I never started in comedy to win awards I just wanted to be a comedian. It’s basically a hobby that’s got a bit out of hand. But I am not complaining! I love it and awards are just added bonus.
What made you start?
I have always loved comedy and I used to go Up the Creek in Greenwich most Sundays. I remember watching a terrible open spot and thought that I could never be that bad. So I put my name down for a spot and performed my first gig at the same club a few weeks later. Funnily enough I was as bad as the terrible open spot but I got better over time.
The Times said you have ‘the confidence of a veteran’, but where does it come from?
I am very lucky to have a strong family unit which I think gives you a wonderful amount of self-confidence. As I always know no matter how bad things get I can go home, visit my family, eat toad in the hole, watch You’ve Been Framed and all will be right with the world.
In only a few years of stand-up you’ve appeared on panel shows AND on TV shows. I’ve heard it said that there is a 7 year gestation period for comedians. Do you think a person is born funny or can learn funny..ness? And please, be honest.
I think you can be naturally funny or learn it and either way have a career as a comedian. However, all the great comedians in my opinion are born funny and then work their nuts off and learn how to be even better.
Who are your comedy idols and why?
I’ve always loved Billy Connolly. He’s so effortless and always looks like he is enjoying himself. I’ve always liked Alan Davies too: his videos were the first comedy videos I had of my own. Peter Kay live was the funniest thing I have ever seen – my whole family went to watch him and we laughed until it hurt. He gets a lot of stick but I think he’s great and that night he was incredible.
Tell us a bit about your first solo Edinburgh Show, ‘Summer Holiday’.
It’s about my family, my working class background and their expectations for me. It’s called ‘Summer Holiday’ as they won’t let me call comedy a proper job. It’s true – for me doing my show is not work. I enjoy it too much. My brother starts work at a New Covent Garden Flower market at 3am 6 days a week. It’s an insult to him to call what I do work.
What do you hope to achieve from the show?
I want the audience to laugh throughout every show and leave the venue smiling. I also want to play professional football for Arsenal. Hopefully Arsene Wenger will be scouting at the Comedians vs Critics football match.
And finally, what is next on the radar for you Mr. Beckett?
I have a few TV appearances coming up which will be me performing stand up so I am very excited about it. Also FIFA 13 is released in September and that will keep me busy.
‘Summer Holiday’ is being performed in Edinburgh at The Below in The Pleasance Courtyard, and runs for most of August. Check www.pleasance.co.uk for ticket info.